By Catie Staszak for Thunderbird Show Park
Langley, BC – Brooke Morin (USA) walked under the tower and into the Fort Grand Prix Arena for the CSI2* Paladin Risk Solutions Grand Prix knowing that in order to win her first international Grand Prix, she’d have to beat her coach.
“I was going to be happy either way. Kyle was going to win if I didn’t! I actually said that to him going into the ring,” Morin, 19, detailed.
Kyle King (USA) was leading the class aboard SIG Chiari and had set a stiff standard. Knowing his track had worked well, his advice to his student was to try to ride a similar track.
She did, for the most part. But a decision to leave out a stride with “Cory” midway through Peter Holmes’ (CAN) short track would set her apart and to the top of the leaderboard. Morin recorded a milestone victory, crossing the timers in 49.62 seconds. King settled for second (49.88 seconds), with Jeffrey Fields (USA) and Sherlina Ale third (50.71).
“I did the seven [strides] in the bending line to the paint oxer. Kyle did eight, and that might have helped me,” Morin said. “I was worried a little about the turn afterward. I had to get a good pace for that seven, and I didn’t want to land too far out. Cory was just so game. He knew what I was asking. He knew what he was supposed to do.”
Traveling at speed and has seemingly come easily to Morin, who also finished second this week in the CSI2* tbird 1.45m. She credits that confidence to her mount. Despite commuting to Canada from her California home to show and train with locally-based King—sometimes not riding her horse for weeks at a time—there is little rust to rub off when she and Cory reunite in the show ring. According to JUMPR app, the pair finish in the top 10 71% of the time in international competition at heights from 1.40m to 1.50m.
“The fact that I’m so comfortable on Cory helps me a lot. When I first started doing the jumpers, you wouldn’t see me going as fast as I did today!” she exclaimed. “[Cory] loves [that pace]. He can also be kind of a lazy boy, but he gets excited [in the jump-off]. He has the best stride ever. It can be huge, and it can be small. He’s so adjustable. It’s just the best feeling.”
Morin and “Cory” have been partnered since the spring of 2020 and jumped their first international classes in June at Spruce Meadows. Morin’s first international win came at tbird’s Summer Fort Classic CSI3* in the Uryadi’s Village Cup 1.50m. Sunday’s win marked her first FEI grand prix win.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t even describe it,” she said. “This is my dream, and it’s finally coming true.”
$50,000 CSI2* Paladin Risk Solutions Grand Prix 1.45m
- NKH Carrido / Brooke Morin / USA / Strasburg Morin Inc / 0/0 49.62
- SIG Chiari / Kyle King / USA / SIG International, Inc. / 0/0 49.88
- Sherlina Ale / Jeffrey Fields / USA / Sahana Ganesan / 0/0 50.71
- Deejay / Braden James / CAN / Stump Lake Ranch & Cattle Co Ltd / 0/0 50.74
- King-Boy / Rachel Fields / USA / The Kehring Family / 0/0 57.12
- Chardonnay / Robert Blanchette / IRL / RTS LLC / 0/4 49.93
- Flinton M / Kendall Bourgeois / USA / Cameron Brown / 0/4 53.35
- Kadans van de Mispelaere / Jaehee Jeon / KOR / Brother Fortune Equestrian Ltd / 0/4 53.35
- Uccelo de Will / Joie Gatlin / USA / Chandler Meadows / 0/4 53.89
- Driek / Jaimie Ackerman / CAN / Jaime Ackerman / 0/EL